When I was elected last January as the new disability minister, one question that occupied my mind was “Who are we getting from Disability UK?” I wanted the best people to join my team. As you may have read in my previous blog, I was able to recruit a wide range of disability experts into my team, including two former cabinet members. I was interested to learn more about the people they had recruited to assist me in setting up and implementing the rights reforms for disabled people.
The ‘White Paper Team’, a group of disability experts, was the main group I received a lot of advice from. These experts were part of the White Paper Group, a group that includes ex-ministers, bloggers, and disability advisers. They provide specialist advice on public sector reform to benefit disabled people. This is one the most important tasks the government must complete, and they have to do it quickly. Their goal is to pass a universal law in the second term. Therefore, it is important to get experts to help us assess the effects of these changes and draft the policy.
Karen Lewis, a woman who worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government, was one of these experts. She was one of the group that was appointed to develop the initial forward planning phase of the reforms. Karen used to send me emails regularly asking for advice on various subjects. From her, I learned that she was also a very talented writer, having previously worked as a journalist and consultant. Crispin Blunt was one of the most senior women in DCLG. She was her closest collaborator.
Crispin Blunt, in fact, is the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Karen Lewis must have known that her work would give her a lot of experience in the critical matter of how charities and disabled people can work together. When I asked her about her work, she stated that her main responsibility was to ensure that the data was available for experts to assist disabled people. She also stated that she was responsible for making sure that the information was easily readable and kept updated. In other words, she was looking after the processing of forms, reports and information requests.
Karen is an excellent example of why the Government should pay more attention. That’s why she was appointed as one of the group of experts for disabled people. It seems to me that this information should be available from Whitehall, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the National Institute for Disability, where she is still employed. Her job role may be expanded in government. I am unable to confirm this.
From talking to Karen, it seems that she plays a vital role in ensuring that the authorities do much work to improve the lives of disabled people. She has been active in promoting inclusion for those with difficulty adapting to daily life. She has also kept in touch regularly with groups that work with disabled people to ensure they are updated on what is happening. She seems to enjoy what she does and has described it as a job. That’s a refreshing approach in an employment profile. It shows that there are positions available in the Government for people who enjoy getting involved and are willing to work together to achieve equality for disabled people.
This appointment may be the boost needed to implement the Government’s plans of increasing employment opportunities for disabled people and encouraging those who are struggling to reach their full potential. Without greater investment, progress is likely to continue to slide. You can learn more about Karen O’Hara’s services and that of other experts in the field of disabled people by going online and searching the job boards. There is plenty of information on the internet that you can use to learn more about your career and start training. There are many options available to meet your needs, regardless of whether you need information or help finding a job.
It is evident that the world in which disabled people work is constantly changing. Technology is making great strides forward, and using this technology, experts for disabled people can learn new skills and earn more money than ever before. Although it may seem impossible to believe, there are many employment opportunities available for people with disabilities. There are many qualifications that may surprise you. It is possible to work in any field you choose, provided you are willing to explore and learn more about how to advance your career.